Bringing the Theory of Leadership and Research into Practice

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Shannon Lanctot-Shah, DHS, MSN, BSN, RN
School of Health and Human services, Selkirk College, Castlegar, BC, Canada
Susan P. Hackett, MN, BSN, RN
School of Health and Human Services, Selkirk College, Castlegar, BC, Canada

Leadership is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon that has been defined in numerous ways (Grossman and Valiga, 2013). Students graduating with a BSN are required to step into leadership roles in health care systems that are complex, fast paced and stretched for resources. In order to prepare students to step onto these leadership roles they need to develop competencies in nursing leadership and nursing research.

Senior nursing students in a small rural college in southern British Columbia (Canada) engage in a semester of theory and practice to further develop their competencies in the areas of leadership, influencing and managing change, and the utilization of research for the purpose of promoting the health of individuals, families, communities and society, within the context of the Canadian health care system. The nursing practice experience focuses on participants’ growth in their practice as professional nurses. They have opportunities to explore interprofessional practice and nursing leadership in the context of emerging Canadian and global health issues and trends.  

These practice experiences provides nursing students with opportunities to explore concepts studied in their theory courses, such as influence, power, change, health policy strategies, funding and resources allocation, and citizen participation, scholarship and research. Students have an opportunity to engage in change on a specific health or nursing practice issue in a wide variety of nursing practice settings.

Participants learn about professional nursing practice, critical thinking, and critical reflection. Practice experiences are supported by seminars, which provide opportunities to examine theories and concepts for discussion, exploration, and integration. Praxis involves the examination of the dynamic interplay between theory and practice. Praxis is actualized by critical reflection, journaling, and active participation in nursing practice seminars.